Are you getting ready to embark on your first snorkeling adventure? Are you worried about leaving something important off the packing list by mistake? This quick guide will help to put your mind at ease! This list contains the five most important items that first-time snorkelers frequently forget to pack. Make sure you have these five items and then you can go back to planning the more exciting details of your vacation.
Your Own Personal Mask
Every tour company and all the shops at popular tourist destinations make it easy to purchase or rent a snorkel right at your snorkel site. This is a perfectly workable solution but, if you have time, it’s always nice to pack your own. Renting fins and even snorkels is awesome but the mask is a different matter.
A leaky mask is the quickest way to ruin a snorkeling trip, and the mask will almost certainly leak if it doesn’t fit just perfectly. Make sure that you choose your mask with an experienced and qualified dive shop professional, who will actually check the seal fit for you. The simple “nose test” is not enough to see if the mask will still seal tight under real world conditions.
Mesh Bag for Storage
Travelers often find themselves with more than enough weight in luggage to haul around, but one little empty mesh bag can make all the difference for a first-time snorkeler who purchased equipment just for the occasion. You’ll use the mesh bag to hold your equipment after getting out of the water.
The mesh will allow the equipment to dry naturally, without soaking your better luggage and even more importantly, without allowing water to sit inside the seals and other delicate parts. Putting equipment away wet is often bad for the integrity of the material.
Double the Sunscreen
Very few other sports leave the back exposed to harsh UV rays as snorkeling does – unless already familiar with the sport, very few snorkelers realize just how much sun their back is going to receive on a clear day. Those damaging UV rays can even penetrate clouds. This goes for any snorkeling destination, not just the tropical ones.
Take the amount of sunscreen you were planning to bring and double it. Make sure you get the highest SPF reef-safe biodegradable sunscreen you can find. Slather it on your back, the back of your neck and ears, the back of your legs, etc. Reapply throughout the day as those “waterproof” promises rarely hold up under such conditions.
Aquatic Life Guidebook
You will definitely want to grab a guidebook to the local aquatic life. You can find these at any of the tourist greeting locations at your hotel or resort, but it’s helpful to pick one up before you leave for your trip so that while you’re on the plane you can learn about the aquatic life you’re about to see.
Make sure to read about fish and plant behaviors as well: some of the most fascinating creatures do not seem special at first, but only display their unique abilities and adaptations if you watch long enough. If you are planning to go snorkeling in Hanauma Bay, for example, you might see the yellow fin goat fish, which changes color to match the blue stripe snappers they school with.
Identification in Case of Emergency
This one is not really as frequently forgotten as the other ones are, but if even one snorkeler forgets their identification and ends up getting hurt, that’s one snorkeler too many. Make sure to bring your identification, notifications of allergies, medical insurance information, and a list of regular medications. Leave these items with your tour guide to use in case you become injured. You may not be in the condition to communicate where in the hotel these documents are located.
While these are not all you need to worry about before leaving, this list of items will ensure that you don’t make the same mistakes that so many first-time snorkelers make. Your trip will go a lot smoother if you have these important items pre-packed and ready to go – it’s never fun to spend the first day of a vacation chasing down local alternatives to items you may have forgotten to bring!